Pozieres: The Anzac Story
In 1916, one million men fought in the first battle of the Somme. Victory hinged on their ability to capture a small village called Pozières. After five attempts to seize it, the British called in the Anzacs to complete this seemingly impossible task.
Just after midnight on the 22nd/23rd July 1916, the 1st Division attacked the town under artillery fire and for the next five days at the cost of 5000 men. The 2nd Division came to relieve the 1st and suffered another 2000 casualties. They were followed by the 4th division who attacked nearby Mouquet Farm. The narrow front exposed the Australians to murderous shell fire and counter-attacks. Over 42 days, the three Australian divisions attacked Pozières 19 times, 16 at night, at the cost of 6000 dead and another 17,000 injured. Those who survived put it down to endurance and luck. The front line barely moved at the end of it. In September the exhausted and depleted Australians were sent back to Flanders to recover their strength.
A letter from Eric Shelley, a good friend of Lewis, describes the first engagement:-
“We moved up on the village of Pozieres on the night of July 19th and it was well into the morning of the 20th by the time we had taken over from the Tommies. Lew’s battalion were in the front.
“All that day, the next and the next, we lay quiet letting the artillery do its work. The attack was timed for 12.30am on the night of the 22nd - 23rd July.
“Two minutes prior to that time we started a violent artillery bombardment, then over our men went to the German first line and took it. For 30 minutes there raged another artillery bombardment our guns having lifted their range to the German 2nd line, then a signal and over we went again.
“As close as I can gather this is where poor old Lew went down. The boy knew no pain thank God, a machine gun bullet got him in the forehead and he died instantly. I saw him a few hours previously and he went into it laughing and joking and full of hope and the surety he was coming out as well as he went in”
No Grave, no cemetery and no clergyman. He was buried in the heat of the action.
‘Lest We Forget’
Private (Pte) Lewis Gordon Blackmore, Regimental number 79
6th Light Horse Regiment, of Wattamondara, NSW.
7th child of Edward Gordon Blackmore and Eleanora Elizabeth Blackmore (Nee Farr)
Born Adelaide SA 21st May, 1886
A grazier prior to enlisting in September 1914, Pte Blackmore embarked from Sydney on board HMAT Suevic (A29)
On 21 December 1914. He was wounded in action at Gallipoli on 14 July 1915 and evacuated to Malta where in September he contracted enteric fever. He proceeded to England for recovery and returned to his unit in Egypt in January 1916.
Pte Blackmore was transferred to the 1st Battalion in February and promoted to 2nd Lieutenant (2nd Lt) in March. 2nd Lt Blackmore was killed in action at Pozieres, France, on 23 July 1916.
He was 30 years of age.
For more information on the Battle of Pozieres, see the Link below:-
Some of Lewis Blackmore’s possessions